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tv   After Words Rev. Al Sharpton Rise Up  CSPAN  October 24, 2020 10:00pm-11:01pm EDT

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about your book, with something you wrote toward the end of your book, which i think is jumping off for your book, he right, i tell everyone the hardest job is to eulogize the life of someone who did nothing. my friends, is harder still to eulogize the lifeblood of the country who did nothing and then you say i beg of you, give me something to work with when your time comes and i'm standing before your family as they prepare to take me to god, let there be something worthy, something of merit you did for your fellow man that helped lift them. the name of your book is rise
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up, talk more about that, why it is imperative for people to give folks like you and the rest of us something to eulogize, to look up to. >> i think the definition of one's existence is what they do in life, at the end of life, the only thing that will matter is what you did beyond your own particular making and living and having material things. what was the value of your existence? did it change anything, did it continue anything of significance? i think people don't really think about that. what brings it to mind, the eulogy for michael jackson, the biggest popstar of his time when
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we recovered out of the cemetery that night, at his burial, a well-known artist that i won't name specifically, the eulogy for michael and if i go first, i want you to do one for me like that. i looked at him and said you got to give me something to work with. michael broke records and records being sold and managed. work he did, this particular artist never really did anythi anything. i think people never really think about what statement did i like? i think it's all depending on the time in which he lived and the challenges you face, whether you met the challenges in a broader societal context, i
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think people often don't think there's one thing about making a living and there's another about making a life worth living. >> in reading your book, several books in one, on the one hand it can be read as maybe he's going to run for elective office again because you talk about specific policies and issues facing the country and what you think should be done and on the other hand, it is a memoir, you reach your personal story through all the chapters and we get to find out bits and pieces because you've written other books where your life is more common but we get to see who you are and where you came from and how it fits with the time we are in and then it's also a bit of a how-to book when it comes to advice you give to activists.
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why did you decide inviting rise up to do your book in that way? >> i wanted to say i feel between the last two administrations, obama administration and trump administration, that we have a graphic unmistakable way, the two roads this country continues to wrestle with but we see it mostly in the last two administrations. in obama, continuing the tradition of continuing to fight for civil rights and inclusive society, african-americans or women for lgbtq or people of lower income levels and on the trump level, we saw the reverse of that. exclusionary policies when it came to flax and women and
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immigrants, lgbtq and i wanted to challenge people on both gross, which won this country would choose and if they decided to choose a road i chose which was more a tradition that created a barack obama, there are some ways to do it and i wanted people to know that i came to these conclusions because i had done certain things in life that was instructive to me. i think we are at a crossroads. i think this country has got to choose one way or another and there's a constant battle with the founding of the country and as we are now in the 21st century, we have to make a real hard decision and i want people to know whether they agree with
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me or not, the road i chose or not, how i came to those conclusions and therefore, this is the conclusion they need to make but whatever decision, you don't have to do it my way, you can do it in a small context, maybe in your home or your neighborhood or your church or bingo club, everybody has practical ways. i wanted it all in one book because it will make people committed and want to make a commitment, people say what do i do? i can't do something and that, everybody can do something and i give them ways of doing. >> i didn't see it coming, when i got to the park part, i didn't see it coming. the advice you give having known you and covered you for 30 yea years, actually, yes, i see that. he practices what he literally
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preaches but i want to bring you to the beginning of the book because you do not bear anyone, not the president, not liberal republican party, how to start this group of people who you have dubbed latte liberals. you've been talking about a lot, before your book came out, talk about latte liberals, who are they? why are they so problematic within the democratic party, progressive wing of the democratic party? >> i think it's those who the armed chair kind of people that always want to set the tone, the policy but never get their hands dirty will get involved.
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they have assigned themselves to leadership but they are not reading anyone. they are not on the ground. in the last decade, we've had every battle in the civil rights era from trayvon martin to george floyd. we always had the latte liberals that would interpret with the movement ought to be doing but they were not on the ground trying to deal with how people who are angry, how they would react. how people were angry on the other side, how they would react. how you deal with people who want to do something and didn't know what to do, they were back sipping latte's, discussing great thoughts but never put any feet to action and those, to me, seemed to be very much an obstacle because what they theorize may not work
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functionally to sit back in the living room paul or and sipped a latte or sit in a studio and spout great wisdom. if you are not on the ground dealing with people who are hurt and angry or dealing with people on the other side of the barricade that are just as adamant and a lot of things you have to do practically is based on being in action. one of the things i've always been is being involved. you may have involvement but a lot of it is because you are moving and reacting in real time to real people so if i'm dealing with the case of racial violence or police violence, victim's family, immediate community, the reaction but these are not
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people who are activists or politically up to the last situation that we may interpret as this is the politics of the time. they are dealing with a real matter and how you deal with that matter in the context of what's going on in the social world is what you have to learn how to deal with. they just don't have to deal with that so if i'm dealing with a mother of a police brutality victim, i got to feel and deal with her pain and reaction, what she wants done or not done in the name of the victim they were the mother of. they never talked about mother and they don't know the father is as concerned about how am i going to bury my child? the cost of it, they may not have been insured. how might dealing with a broken family who may not have come together? all of that and they will be
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judged but never active they have become just as much as an impediment as those on the other side because they are so intellectual they are not doing that. >> one of the things you also say is they are more interested in purity, policy purity and actually getting anything done. >> they seem to have that group of people. here is my ten step program and if you're not with those ten, all of a sudden, you're incorrect, not useful. i might have eight of them but to i don't feel functionally works for the people and trying to work with and i'm trying to help serve. everything else.
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this purity test i think is what costs a lot of movement forward. politics, for example, they would give a purity test to hillary clinton or joe biden in this disagrees with both of them but overall direction was where the based on who was opposing them. if you say it was my way, you have to check off all of these boxes of the ten list and if you don't do that, i'm opposed to year. if the opposition to all of us rather than getting something done. dealing with real pain and issues with people on the ground. trump says you have to work with people you may have a problem with on some things but the overall is going to help position where you want to physician people toward moving down the right road. >> you write something else new
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book about the latte were liberal i want you to expand on, they may mean well but his lack of empathy or understanding the basic inequalities that go hand-in-hand with bigotry, racism and economic disparity, making it go back to anyone struggling to get a foothold in the american dream i'd go so far as to say is if latte liberals have this in the issues and their black and brown and immigrant brothers, there would be no need for someone like me. i wrote in the margin when i read that, bernie critique? talk more about that. >> i think what i was saying, the people in black and brown communities and working-class for what communities in the lgbtq community, these are people living with a lot of latte liberals are reading about
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so they are dealing with how they can analyze without expressing the pain and reaction and the outrage. when i go to a scene like george floyd, i am standing there on the corner where he literally died his death was on video. i'm thinking about the human suffering this man had analyzing the law. the law is applicable who will express the inhumane treatment? the outrage of people seeing a man dying. there's so caught up in their analysis and fitting in two their part, they miss the actual facts, this is a human being, somebody's father, somebody's
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brother, somebody's son that lays there and was killed in eight minutes and 46 seconds. by the time they half of their analysis they've rejected because it's like you don't feel my pain. someone like me expresses the pain and outrage because when i looked at george floyd, or trave on, that could have been me and it's affected my life journey. i am not talking about some analysis i learned about a situation that i've had to live in they never get there which is why they appear useless. those of us have the coverage and ability to express that pain becomes necessary because first and foremost, they want somebody
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to understand i am hurting, he is not there, this is not right. i'm being treated wrong. everything is the expression, black lives matter, we matter. i'm not an object to be analyzed. and something that ought to be regarded, restricted and therefore, ought to be treated this way. now we can get to the social formula you want, legal kind of analysis you want but first, you must confirm you understand that i am violated as a person. >> i want to come back to that in a second because there's something you wrote in the book that surprised me. he mentioned trayvon martin, eric garner and there have been countless other victims of fatal police violence or vigilante violence, ahmaud arbor comes to mind. you wrote in the book, i think
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it was when you went to minneapolis to see the site where george floyd was killed under the knee of a police officer, that got to you. correct me if i am wrong, you said it broke you. why overall these decades, what was it about that particular circumstance, that particular victim in location or city that affected you that way? >> festival, when i got the call and then an attorney called me and said the family would like me involved in said would you go to minneapolis and stand up on this issue? i told him absolutely. i called eric garner's mother and said going to minneapolis,
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one of the reporters is going to give us this, would you go with me? is in the middle of the pandemic, none of us were flying, very few flights at that time i knew she was concerned, as all of us were, traveling during covid-19. she said i'm article back so we got on and went to minneapolis. we go as i've gone for the last 35 years but when we pulled up in this community who met with some of the local activists at the church that was diagonal to where george was killed on. when we walked up, i looked where the band played and it looked there and i thought about this young lady who walked by and videotaped, this was right
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off the curb. frost daylight with his knee on his neck. how was this and what a way to die. he was begging for his life, playing in the gutter. people walking back and the other two policemen were standing there, aiding in this man's life being taken and it overwhelmed me. i say that in the book, when you lose the sensitivity of a human life, if you don't feel something, another situation, then i think you are ineffecti ineffective. it really bothered me, george floyd brought home the viciousness, and sensitivity, ruthlessness some people have
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toward human life. at one time eight minutes and 46 sevenths, that this is a human being even if you thought he was doing something wrong? this is a human being begging for his life. the humanity and that that never kicked in. it was something outrageous about that to me. that's why when i did the eulogy and at the end, instead of eight minutes and 46 seconds, i don't think people understood how long of time that was in people told me data, but i step two or three minutes and it never really hits you, wait a minute, this is a human being, somebody that i am squeezing the life out of, coming to face with that, it was
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overwhelming. >> the other thing about that, the fact that the police officer has his hand in his pockets. in broad daylight on the city streets and he was nonchalant. >> nonchalant, and later when i found out when he was calling for his mother and i said i would come back, i said, he said the family wants to meet you because i talked to him on the phone and he did my television show. he said his mother died. what you mean his mother died? he was calling for his mother. he said that was what was so strange, he was calling for his mother. it almost tears me up is calling
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for somebody who he had to know wasn't there and he didn't have anyone else to call. it is like calling he would probably call for all his life for 30 years, i knew that feeling. i think that brought it all back with the emotions of the funeral because when nobody else would help, my mother was there. i felt that was what george did. >> as the son of a single mom, as well, that was the thing that got me, that's your person of last resort. when you're calling for your mom, there is no one else to turn to. as a result of the killing of george floyd, we seen -- i can't
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remember an incident that created this much outrage. national protests almost overnight in cities big and small, protesting the killing of this man everyone watches, for eight minutes and 46 seconds. one of the things i noticed and lots of african-americans notice was the complexion of the protest, you seem pretty protests you and the african-americans were marching this time in majority of the protesters have been white question but given your you about that, white american rally to support african-americans is something we have been
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protesting and ringing the bell on and screaming the bell on for generations. >> i was impressed with the fact that so many literally came out and not just give removed simply but became part of the movement and in many cases, there were more than us in many cities. maybe we are getting through this, maybe this is the spot that will wake up a lot of the country regardless of their race because of the outrage of this kind of scene. part of this in an ironic way, this happened where everyone was locked down. it was no sport so you watched the move.
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people were watching the news, hoping it would say something that would break through and we can go out tomorrow. people were houston and they had to watch this tape over and over again and i think it just exploded into this movement because people said -- maybe didn't see because you could watch the ballgame go to the local place but you can go anywhere or watch the ballgame, there was no ballgame. you had to watch this. i think you see it more and the more outrageous you get. people everywhere started marching on their own and i said maybe this time, maybe, i am still skeptical, maybe this will calm through but it kept going kept going for broke out everywhere. it was something like being able to see what you've been trying
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to say a long time and maybe saying it in ways that was not appealing to people, not only speaking in terms of the victims family but speaking on my own thing and it and maybe this will be more opalescent than any of us could ever articulate. they came to me and i wrote about this in the book, it came on the first time i went to minneapolis, i went over to the shopping mall area and was talking to some of those marching and walked to the side and i was doing a live interview msnbc. when i was finished, i got ready to walk away and somebody grabbed the sleeve of my jacket and i turned and looked and i looked down, there was a young
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white girl, maybe 12 years old and i braced myself because i've been where people scream racial names out us, what are you doing here? are you causing trouble? i braced myself, waiting for hostility. they said no justice, no peace. that's when i said to myself, things will slowly be different this time. we've got to sustained this for real. >> maybe things are changing bur phrasing of latte liberals because i'm wondering latte liberals are now taking over some of these protests, i am thinking about because the president of the naacp in portland, oregon wrote my paper, washington post, basically
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expressing concern about the gentrification of the black lives matter movement and how you have white protesters putting themselves now at the center of the action, so much so that the message of the protest is being lost. is there a danger the latte liberals have grown from the arising and sipping lattes just getting there exercise by getting out of the house and marching? >> i think there is a danger. the danger is compounded when they come up with their agenda and their points of this is what we want. talking to the victims and those who live in this environment all of their lives say no, this is what we want and they speak for
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people and speak to. not all of the white join, but many of them putting this together, it's an almost elitist attitude. i know what it's like and i know what the political agenda would be actually kidnapped the movement from those who were the victims. they don't even talk to the victims. ....
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>> what it is we want to be reminds me of rick douglas when he once had a whole story when he got to new england and with that abolitionist movement and then when he gets up to speak and to say wait a minute we don't need you to be articulate as a black of being a slave we couldn't talk for our slaves talk about better slave masters looking to be free. >> we spent a lot of time talking about the progressive being in the democratic party because you write about the
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democratic party feeling of the black community and those far, just because you're in the abusive relationship it doesn't mean you leave only to submit yourself to up the. >> and however can americans particularly black republicans have been known to say black democrats are on the quote unquote democratic plantation so talk more about why the republicans are not a good deal for african-americans either. >> the problem with the democratic party is they say the right things that will not give that deference and with those issues.
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so perhaps exploit people that have been abused. so they can use you they are not trying to affirm your dignity your worth or status as a human being and they are trying to manipulate being you so they can miss use more for their own benefit so as a result come over here where we can kill the civil rights act we will treat you better that is to for you and seduce you
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with that agenda which is diametrically opposed to everything. and then to have the results match the rhetoric so that is antithetical. >> are you surprised by how quickly republicans have dumped everything with america and the world and how quickly they dumped those principles to support president trump? >> it is mind boggling a party that has certain conduct and it appeared in the matter of moments dealing with the cult
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of personality behavior doesn't matter inconsistency doesn't matter now this claims to be the followers all that goes out the window and whatever this man said that these people for the bible thumping go to church on sunday going from that to dealing with someone to end the health experts and to take different positions from one hour to the next without
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question and get in line. you haven't seen a major figure emerged in the republican party and every once in a while those for long periods of time with long periods in between so those righteous people o'connor and that they were act on - - trekked on the other pages and the twitter feeds based on the impulse of man who believes in nothing but himself. >> it is a great segue and the way you write about him in the beginning and someone at the end because because your
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stories are parallel that your friend for our lives with your experiences with him i get a chance to read stuart's book how the republican party became donald trump. and then to believe all these things to understand how they embrace donald trump the altar mega- church preacher. beyond their own needs. playing his name on the buildings he did known and
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with that type of lifestyle and then to live larger than life but the reality and is exactly that. i am donald trump 35 years and the democrats and for their campaign and then tried to befriend you i believe donald trump believes in anything other than the advancement of
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donald trump. i remember in the seventies when i was just a young activists with those repeated claims of racial discrimination with the buildings that he owned or managed in the justice department was charged with that and then a few years later in atlantic city and then to the exclusive rights where they would be. and i think because the local city council was black and i had a strong presence don
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keying wanted us to make peace and that became is nicer but and then to hope all the way back with the central park five i marched on the plaza hotel because they were the page ads calling for the execution. we set a ringside together so that means you will stand by silently with the institution of people women to flip all
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the way back again so as time went on not only is he an opportunist i gave him the benefit of the doubt if black and brown people to be executed it was clear to a lot of us because they had a confession but meant to say that they should settle with them and he knew he said it falsely that he was not born
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here and it was that type of mentality so if you get comfortable with that crowd deep down inside the this man is a straight a bigot and a racist and ironically there was a meeting set up by michael cohen to say you know better than that. it is the us against them and finally agree to disagree i knew he would try to distort the meeting so i talked about what i said he tried to meet that l sharpton apologize for
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what he had been saying. >> that meeting with private citizen trump arranged by michael cohen, what was the first time you had interactions with trump or even met with trump? you write in the beginning of the book after trump won the election he called you and wanted you to come to trump tower in meet with him. if memory serves, you said no. >> he called me about 30 days around that time around president-elect. i had been on morning joe he called me out of the clear blue sky so i look down and see a number and then called
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my back i didn't recognize the number i said i'm in a board meeting i cannot talk and then they said we were president-elect. so i step outside of the board meeting and i said yes he says ally watching on morning joe this morning. you are right. look at me now he went on the sole braggadocio bit and said i want you to come to mar-a-lago. we need to talk and you need to meet with me and i said i'm not coming for a photo op i believe you're going to do the things and i'm still upset.
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>> we can talk i know you i said no and i refuse to meet with them i haven't met with him sense he has reached out several times only time i've spoken to him since he was president was at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. i was concerned they were not testing the homeless and incarcerated. i was talking about it and i said as a matter of record i will put in i called the white house. i left a message i was concerned about the testing of those that were incarcerated because they cannot social distance they are in jail everybody else was locked in so to my surprise three hours later he called me back.
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i said my concerns he said i hear you i'm not making any commitments pressure you. i said this is why feel you have to do is they cannot socially distancing in jail they don't have the facilities to get tested. all right now we will follow up i will catch a show sometime your hard on me but then he made his derogatory statement and then that's the only time he and i have talked formally since he's been president. but i am absolutely convinced donald trump is a big it. that's who he is he's comfortable with it and unapologetic. >> if you up into each other one of the anniversary, the anniversary sarah palin was
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there on the red carpet and the two of you talked and he grabbed in a vice like grip to pull you close and smile. >> it was after that i ran into sarah palin and then with the 40th anniversary and as i to my seat i see trump sitting there with his wife and i said okay he leaned over the railing he looked at me and said you have to do you have to do and i have to do i have to do that and i knew he was committed he would use the
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biggest line and whatever else would a way he was going politically to say he has done again we have got to do. and that was it. >> we will use the time remaining to talk about you what you write about yourself in the book. one of the things i found interesting was the advice you got from greta scott king and she will do is sign a - - decide to sit you down but it was a a lot more than that. >> so i started born and raised in brooklyn i was
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always a huge admirer of doctor king was wanted to be close to the king family was wanted to be close to the king family with martin luther king the third key got me and his mother together and finally convince them in the late nineties and agreed to the keynote that year and she had a very real presence i thought both of the niceties she said explain what you did in this movement why did you say this
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why did you use this language? letter explaining and she said with the king tradition will use those kind of words those that could be misinterpreted and then to lean forward and say don't you understand words have power? in march and is sitting nearby and she said to me he will continue this movement. have to be right and act right and guard your tongue and speaking for a tradition to bring what is right the theme that my husband and i use so i
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grew up in a time that they ever gave me and then trying to be can with my language to understand i can almost hear her saying words have power and with the journey of self-discipline she was never given the credit. >> so the last part of the book is to want to be activist and young activist coming up in the time we have left, for
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self-awareness and this is particularly difficult it's hard to do with vanity test every once in a while. sometimes my vanity out and my sanity and i had to check myself. >> sometimes you can get so caught up in the publicity and then to play to the issue is moving forward all of us have egos but when that out where in your agenda you lose the effectiveness so to get the
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soundbite to have the 6:00 o'clock news and with that situation and what needed to be said and that's the advice i give a lot of young activists it's all right to be good to attract the media but don't do a reason. >> you have done saturday night live. >> correct. i did it once and i opened another time. >> that's the reason why you did it was to give the message of a bigger platform.
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>> when they called me and invited me to post everyone on my staff said no they will make a mockery of you. i also want people to know i can laugh at myself and still operate and i want americans to understand but ended up coming off very well. >> you also write has been here vanity test that even when more money is offered to you you still said no and you turned down the offer to be on the apprentice. why did you say no to that
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quick. >> donald trump's presence that was the hottest show. i said no. there is no way to get issues out and to say that i'm not just hostile and then whatever the case may be so i said no and she said they want to and finally donald trump called me twice and said out you have to do this will give more than the other contestants and i wouldn't do it because if there was no value to it it would be great for my vanity one of the hottest shows on television. also turned down dancing with the stars.
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>> dancing with the stars? >> i was offered price. it feature one best place i see any value in and dancing with somebody. >> you are a picture but also in anchorman will probably have less than two minutes left for someone who accept your book rise that is the number one message you want them to take away? >> we are at a crossroads which direction we will go studying decades ago studying decades ago and with that close society and then which
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want the country to go and actively help push the country on the right road share some policy and that word of level can rise up to help the nation on the right path to be in a precarious time if you don't choose the right road and be difficult to recover from. and then to rise up and help make it happen. with environmental justice and environmental racism.
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the lgbtq community here in your book rise up confronting a country and the crossroads my old and and calling - - often thank you very much. >> i can't figure hard to keep being older than you i can't find a way to make you catch up. [laughter] >> it won't happen. >> thank you very much
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>> white house press secretary and communications director sean spicer him much of the same strategy in 2014 leading the party to a sweeping victory and in 2016 for the must see republican primary debate with a structured format to create more informative and fair debates the rnc chief strategist and communications director


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